Diary of the infected & discoveries along the way.
The mystery is over me. On the third day of January 2022, let the record show, I became one of the statistics you read every day – the growing cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. I am counted among those who have finally fallen to the bane of the early 2020’s – our pandemic, our Great Depression, our WWII moment. This is the one where as much as Americans hate to think we are in the same boat, we are here. Whether you choose to believe or accept or whatever the rationalizations you tell yourself, we are in this deep. To what extent, I don’t know. Scientists don’t know, then I don’t. Doctors are calling audibles, so I shan’t offer a half-assed opinion. This is, of course, not the first time I’ll be writing about the Coronavirus, but it is the first time I’ll be doing it as its victim.
To begin, I had it pretty bad – chills, fever, headache, bouts of dizziness, sore throat, coughing, the whole thing. My wife had it worse. At least three days of high fever and severe coughing ever since. My 13-year-old daughter had glassy eyes, some fever, and felt mostly achy. We were all extremely fatigued throughout. (Note: All of us are fully vaccinated, but were awaiting our turn at a booster, which did not come in time). It has been about eleven days since my first symptoms and I am still kind of woozy and still need to take a seat more than I normally would and even find myself wandering away from this word-machine here. The girls are recovering slowly but surely. This was a bitch, for sure, but all in all, no issues with the lungs or worries about a hospital run, and we have our taste buds and smell intact. We also have the blessed antibodies. Now that it is over, I can say it is worth that, at least.
But, again, the mystery is over for me. The stigma of thinking, “I can’t get this” or after a while, “Fuck, it, if I get this.” You know. We have mostly lived our lives carefully here, like our circle of friends and family for the past almost two years now. Sure, we would get together, play music, drink, hang, travel. I have traveled to South Padre Island, Texas, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, and Austin, Texas since March 2020, and we did our Long Beach Island shore run both years. We have attended and played in our local (and traveled to) music fests – mostly outdoors, but some indoors – over this time. We have masked up, used our hand-sanitizers, washed our hands, took our vitamins, and lived our lives. This worked for way longer than I would have imagined. There was not a time after the initial shut-down that we overdid our quarantine thing. We lived, and even spent the 2020 holidays heading up to my extended family in Syracuse and bringing my mom in for summer and holiday visits. This time around it got us. Not my mom, who, by the way, will murder me if I print her age, but let’s just say I am pushing 60 later this year and she is about four-foot nothing, 74 pounds, was with all of us, and went back to North Carolina with nary a symptom. She did a few tests and came up clean. She is likely at yoga or kickboxing right now as I write this. I am convinced she is a cyborg and having always assumed she would bury us all. I think I have my answer now.
Last thing on the family and the getting together for this past New Year’s Eve, which is what sparked this thing: of my immediate family (twelve in all, not including the maternal cyborg), seven of us got taken down. Now, this doesn’t mean all of us tested positive. The opposite. My wife and daughter did Rapid (two negatives) and my daughter did a more conclusive one through the nose (negative). Once I had the same symptoms as my bother-in-law, who called me the Monday after New Year’s Day to inform me of his infection, I went to get the two big tests – molecular (RT-PCR) tests that detect the virus’ genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. It was saliva. Took nearly a week to get the results: Positive – but we already knew.
To that end, I think it is important I report that any Rapid Test you may take for the Omicron is mostly bullshit. I have heard from friends and colleagues who have had this variant that they had to take rapid/home tests three or four times to get a positive result. I would say, in my experience now, and those who have shared it with me, if you were with someone who has COVID, and you have symptoms, you have COVID. Period. Even two nurses and my doctor said it is almost impossible with Omicron to be near someone who gets it, and if you have similar symptoms, escape unscathed.
I can also state that while this variant and the times we live in now with vaccines (I had my first two doses done in June and was due for my booster in December, as mentioned, but there were none to be had until mid-January anyway), plus post-infection medication (I took an antibiotic prescribed by my doctor), it is still very serious. I blanche at anyone undercutting the importance of not getting this and taking care to not push yourself if you do. And while I have gigs that allow me to continue to be productive from home, there is still, as mentioned above, a period of rest that must be adhered to. This thing sucks, no doubt about it.
I do not regret living as I have the past year-plus with this thing all around us. I would do it all again – even New Year’s Eve. I think it is important we be careful, be responsible, and get vaccinated, and if choosing to not get vaccinated, then at least respect those who might be concerned to be around you. Whatever you decide, and however this turns out for you, please know that it is serious, and that we all do not know its after-effects and what is coming around the corner.
However, for this writer, the direct experience fighting off this virus has been nothing like the flu or a bad cold. Everyone that has had it that I’ve spoken to has shared unique symptoms and experiences. Everyone’s response is different. Some worse. Some less so. There is no standard for this. It is COVID. It’s its own thing. Know that. Proceed accordingly.
And please stay safe and healthy and think of others the same way.